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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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nadequate provision of food and clothing and in overcrowded conditions
so far as transport was concerned. They are said—all those that were fit—
to have been put to forced labour, many in an Arctic climate, in such
conditions of underfeeding and underclothing that thousands are said to
have succumbed. It is reported that in April* 1943,, over 270,000 Polish
citizens were benefiting from the relief organisations of the Polish Embassy
set up in Kuibyshev, including 95,000 men, 98,000 women and 78,000
children, when the work of the Polish relief organisations was brought to
an end by the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
After that relief stopped and since then, except during a brief period when
the Australian representative had some access, there has been no access
allowed to those persons by any Impartial persons, and neither the Inter-
national Red Cross,, Quakers, nor any other international body, were allowed
access.
" The second series of deportations is much later—during and since
August of the present year. It is alleged to affect large numbers., including
many officers and men who had fought actively with the Red Army in the
common fight against Germany3 and who were afterwards seized upon, and
for one reason or other, deported. The facts about that are rather more
doubtful. Obviously they come from underground sources which may or
may not be reliable. The position is unsatisfactory but the extent of it is
less fully established than in the case of the earlier deportations. I merely
want to say that all this is very disquieting, and the question is whether the
Russian authorities have anything to be ashamed of, anything they would
not like impartial people from other countries to see. If not, why cannot
they allow access, not to any busybodies, but to recognised organisations ?
All these delays and these difficulties about the deportees must inevitably
strengthen the fear, just or unjust, that the Soviet have reason to dislike
impartial witnesses ... I am justified in asking my right hon. Friend, who
will reply, whether he can give us some assurance . . . Did he, when he was
in Moscow, or will he, in his representations to Moscow, raise this question :
" What about the deportees, and why do you not want people to visit them ? "
And " Why should it not be possible to send supplies to them ? " '*
Captain Alan Graham (Conservative) : " This Debate, of course,
centres round the Russian-Polish situation, and our British attitude towards
it, but it seems to me that far bigger issues are involved, namely, the whole
future of European civilisation. What is the key-note of our civilisation in
contrast with Asiatic concepts ? It is surely the Infinite value of the indi-
vidual human soul. In the East ... to them the individual is next to
nothing, but in Europe he is all-important.
" This is a basic concept on which all our hopes of man's progress are
founded : the social services, to assist his bodily Infirmities j freedom of
religion, so that his soul may prosper; our democratic institutions, so that
the State may derive the greatest possible voluntary service from every free,
individual citizen. This is an idea of which Nazi Germany is the mortal
foe ; and for this idea Poland, France and ourselves drew the sword in
September, 1939. For this idea, in 1940, when Europe lay prostrate under
the Nazi heel, we alone continued to fight; for which Europe and the whole
civilised world still pay us their tribute of admiration. Consequently, we
were, and we still are, considered the champions of European civilisation.
From this role we cannot withdraw without shame, dis-honour5 and material
danger. The Polish nation has always been a member of our European
family3 and a worthy contributor to European civilisation—indeed, for
centuries one of its doughtiest champions. At this moment, the Polish
nation is in grave danger of extinction at the hands of our enemy 3 Germany,
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